The world’s highest bridge has opened to traffic in a remote, mountainous part of China, adding to the country’s impressive roster of mega-structures.
The Beipanjiang Bridge links the province of Guizhou and Yunnan and is expected to reduce road travel times from Liupanshui to Xuianwei from five hours to two. Its 1,341-metre span of four-lane road deck soars 564 metres over the Beipan River, making it the highest – if not the tallest – in the world.
The Beipanjiang is the highest rather than the tallest bridge. The tallest bridge - the bridge with the tallest structure, regardless of distance from the valley floor - remains the Millau Viaduct, a joint British-French venture on the A75 Autoroute. The road deck here is held a mere 270 metres – less than half the height of the Beipanjiang Bridge.
The Beipan river, over which the Beipanjiang Bridge carries traffic, is part of the great Pearl River basin. Because of its geography, the bridges that cross it tend to be remarkably high.